Legionella victims to file a complaint against company responsible

Legionella victims to file a complaint against company responsible
Victims of a legionella outbreak are taking legal action against a paper mill identified as the probable source of the infection. Credit: © Belga

Victims of a Legionella epidemic that broke out near Ghent will jointly file a complaint against the company responsible, according to reports on Tuesday.

The victims hope their joint action will shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the outbreak, which has so far claimed two lives.

On June 4, a paper mill owned by company Stora Enso confirmed that health authorities had identified it as a probable source of the epidemic which broke out at the start of May in the town of Evergem.

The epidemic quickly accelerated, bringing up the count to 32 as health authorities raced against the clock to find its source. But, as the investigation continues, the victims are frustrated that little information is being disclosed to them.

"We think it's the only way to get ahead in this case," Tania Braeckman, whose brother died in the epidemic, told VRT news. "We want to make clear that we will not let ourselves be fooled and that we want the situation to improve," she added.

Mario Paelinck, who was in a coma for two weeks after contracting legionella two years ago, wants to know if the recent outbreak is connected to his own infection.

"I am not interested in compensation, but I am concerned about the people who may become victims after me," he said. "Legionella does more to you than you think."

With the investigation still ongoing, the victims will meet with their lawyer on Wednesday.

"The uncertainty is great, we have a lot of questions," Braeckman said.

"They said they have provided all the information and that the information is ongoing, but we know nothing else," she added.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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